Antarctic Mid Winter Function
Tuesday 3 July 2007
Paul Hargreaves ONZM, Chair Antarctica NZ
Good evening. I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak to you tonight. This is a special night for me as later I will be presenting the inaugural Gateway Antarctica Christchurch City Council’s Antarctic Scholarship.
I've been to Antarctica twice now. Both my visits have been eye opening and rewarding experiences. They have given me an insight and knowledge of the special conditions on the earth's third largest continent.
When I landed back in New Zealand two things struck me. The first was the noise. Antarctica is a haven of silence. The second was the colours of the city. In Antarctica everywhere it is white with the only colour coming from the sky.
There is no doubt that Antarctica is one of the harshest environments on the planet and one of the most vulnerable, and its an environment that New Zealand has committed to protecting under the Antarctica Treaty.
Already the human footprint is impacting on the region. We need to find out how to visit and how to tread lightly so we don’t leave too much of a mark.
- 2007 year Antarctica New Zealand celebrates 50 years of New Zealand involvement in this mighty continent.
- International Polar Year:
- to explore new scientific frontiers
- to deepen our understanding of polar processes and their global linkages
- to increase our ability to detect changes, to attract and develop the next generation of polar scientists, engineers and logistics experts
- to capture the interest of schoolchildren, the public and decision-makers.
- Climate change is having a major impact on the ice. Just this last summer we had people taking helicopter trips out to huge icebergs that were floating along the Otago and Canterbury coastlines.
- This is far to big a challenge for one nation. New Zealand is doing its bit
- Govt spending addition $11.1 million over three years for research
- IPY funding packing includes funding for
- A major marine biodiversity study.
- A contestable fund for IPY research administered by jFoundation for Research Science and Technology.
- A major priority for the research will be climate change
- Equally important research will involve protection of the unique ecostystems of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
- NZ is already participating in other projects in Antarctica and will be part of IPY including the Antarctic geological drilling project which NZ is projecting managing and co-leading with the US.
- Benefits to Canterbury – CDC report
- Report commissioned by CDC and funded by Min of Economic Development
- Carried out by Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit of Lincoln.
- Its aims:
- To estimate economic benefits to Canterbury and NZ from Antarctic related activities in Canterbury
- To highlight important issues in the sector based on interviews with key stakeholders
- To inform the development of a Project Antarctica Strategic Plan and Action Agenda
- The study focused on 5 sources of economic benefit:
- National Antarctic Programes (NAPs) opeated by NZ, USA and Italy
- Southern Ocean fishing
- Antarctic related education and research
- Ross Sea region heritage sites restoration and protection
- The study was released on 22 June
- Direct contribution $88 million to Canterbury economy
- Partial estimate for NZ is $133 million
- National Antarctic Programmes are the largest contributor to Canterbury economy ($34.2 million)
- Closely followed by tourism 29.1 million; fishing $21.8 million; education and research $1.8 million
- Total benefit to Canty economy is $155.1 million
- Actively supports employment of 1256 people in region
- Total benefit to NZ economy is $282 million per annum
- Supports employment of 2115 people throughout NZ
- Suggestions that additional investment by the city and its airport and seaport structure may be required.
- Importance of developing and maintaining relationships with key participants
- Recent activities include
- Christchurch City Council co-hosting of the Antarctic Season Opening and Christchurch Antarctic Festival
- Suggestions Canterbury would benefit from an Antarctic advocacy and coordination office
- Forum held to progress the strategic plan and engage the wider business community of Christchurch and Canterbury.
- US/NZ relationship
- NZ enjoys a very close and amicable working relationship and friendship with the US, on the Ice and in Christchurch.
- Christchurch is the gateway to Antarctica for the US Antarctic programme.
- US station McMurdo is only about 3 km away from Scott Base, the NZ station in Antarctica
- Logistics support fro NZ activities in Antarctica are provided with close co-operation in the shared logistics pool with the US and Italian Antarctic programmes, which also operate out of Christchurch.
- Makes available significant economies of scale
- NZ benefits greatly from the use of US logistics support to operate Scott Base and its science programme;
- Antarctica NZ is very appreciative of this;
- Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that Antarctica NZ would receive $5.9 million over the next four years to boost its contribution to the joint NZ/US Antarctic logistics pool;
- US benefits through the use of Christchurch airport and port facilities as an Antarctic gateway.
- NZ and US collaborate on many scientific projects together,m such as Antarctica New Zealand’s flagship Antractic geiological drilling programme, ANDRILL.
- I saw first hand the great friendship and partnership enjoyed between the US and NZ when many McMurdo station staff, US dignitaries, politicans and members of the Nationa Science Foundation attended the 50th anniversary celebrations at Scott Base in Janaury. I attended a function hosted by the US at McMurdo.
Christchurch has benefited hugely from its relationship with Antarctica and its geographic position which makes it an ideal jumping off place for expeditions of the great continent, and we look forward to doing so into the future. As a city we are honoured to play our part in protecting this very special place lying white and silent in the Southern Ocean.